By Dilara Zengin and Tuba Sahin
WASHINGTON/ANKARA (AA) – The 38th American-Turkish Conference will address bilateral economic, trade and strategic ties when attendees meet virtually Sept. 21- 24 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The event was organized by Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) Turkey-US Business Council (TAIK) and US Chamber of Commerce
Khush Choksy, US Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for Middle East, Turkey and Central Asia Affairs, told Anadolu Agency the conference will focus on key sectors that will support US-Turkey economic recovery post-COVID and contribute to the $100 billion bilateral trade goal from its previous $75 billion when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump raised it last June.
Choksy said the event will mark the first virtual conference of its kind, and the first following the integration of the American-Turkish Council (ATC) into the Chamber earlier this month.
Noting that the bilateral trade volume stands at $25 billion, including services, Choksy said despite the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, the figure in the first half of 2020 rose 6% thanks to the energy and aviation sectors.
The trade volume between the two countries hit $9.8 billion in January-June, up from $9.2 in the same period last year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
In 2019, Turkey's exports to the US stood at $8.1 billion while imports was around $11.2 billion, according to the TurkStat.
"Significant economic and business climate reforms combined with regulatory convergence to better align the US and Turkish economies with innovative business trends will open the door to new trade and investment opportunities," he said. "In this regard, the US Chamber of Commerce calls upon the two governments to launch a sustained economic and commercial dialogue focused on these goals."
The event will showcase the strength of the commercial relationship between the Turkey and the US with strategic sectors and industries on display such as energy and sustainability, aerospace and defense, manufacturing, construction and infrastructure, digital economy and healthcare.
Choksy said the effects of COVID-19 requires deeper economic and business cooperation and "each of these sectors mentioned plays a critical role in securing a safe, healthy and prosperous future for the two nations."
TAIK Chairman Mehmet Ali Yalcindag said the conference will bring together more than 400 representatives from state and private sectors, in addition to top officials and decision makers of the two governments.
"We are very excited to crown the experience we have gained in the technology for months under pandemic conditions with virtual gathering of the 38th American-Turkish Conference," said Yalcindag.
He said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Turkey's Ambassador to the US Serdar Kilic and the Head of Turkey's Defense Industries Presidency Ismail Demir are expected to attend.
"I would like to express our belief that the bilateral economic, trade and strategic ties will be deepened with the panels to be held focusing on the relations during the pandemic in the defense industry, digital economy, construction, energy and infrastructure sectors," he said.
Pointing to the positive course of trade and economic ties despite the pandemic, he added: "We saw a betterment in bilateral trade volume with the Trump administration. However, there is much greater potential."